Taxis to get more rigorous inspections

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Taxi company owners could find their vehicles undergoing more rigid annual inspections in the future under a plan proposed by the city’s Public Transportation Board.

The board Tuesday voted 3-0 to recommend the Board of Mayor and Aldermen get the city’s vehicle maintenance department involved in cab inspections, which under the proposed plan would include a test drive and mechanical inspection.

If the plan is approved, Transportation Board president Jim Stirgus Jr. said, his board will develop the inspection procedures.

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He wants city vehicle maintenance supervisor Barry Warnock to meet with the board in September and discuss the city’s part in the enhanced inspections.

“We are a tourist town, and we have to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that people are safe when they travel our streets,” board member Stan Collins said.

Cabs are required under the city’s vehicle-for-hire ordinance to be inspected annually by the Vicksburg Police Department. The inspection ensures the vehicle’s lights, turn and emergency signals, horn and speedometer work, the body, windshield and rear and side mirrors are in good condition, the seat belts work, the taximeter is calibrated and the vehicle has the proper identification on both sides.

Collins, however, said the cabs should also undergo a mechanical inspection to ensure the brakes, axles and other mechanical parts are working properly. He said he watched the last cab inspections “and saw some things I didn’t agree with that (weren’t) on the (inspection list).” He said mechanics at the maintenance building discovered three dry-rotted tires on one cab.

He said he was not criticizing the police about the inspections. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but they don’t have the training to be able to get under the vehicle and look for problems underneath. Four eyes are better than two,” he said.

“This could possible liability issue later,” he said. “I’m looking to protect this board, but I’m also looking to protect the city and the people. I feel we need to be going in the right direction.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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